Friday, May 11, 2012

Found it ... in abundance

When I was saying goodbye to the tight-knit foursome of thru-hikers that I met north of Newfound Gap in Smoky Mtn Park, one of them said, "Good Luck, 'Seeks It'.  I hope you find it."

It wasn't the right time, so I didn't explain to him that it's not like that.  I find a bit more of it (Fellowship with the wilderness, the intertwining my self with my essential nature) every day.  But today I found a mother-lode!
On my return trip to Sunfish Pond (Thursday May 3rd) it opened up its vistas to me. There was barely an hour of nice weather, and I was in the right place. It had been densely foggy all morning.  As I approached, the fog lifted long enough for me to explore the pond and have a little lunch, and then the east wind picked up and the fog rolled back in. But while I was there, I had the entire place to myself - surely a rarity in this popular place. Human voices ruin the wilderness experience for me - children shouting, partyers laughing ... I might as well be in the city. But today the wind was calm and the whole expanse of the pond, laid out before me like a window into heaven, sang to me with only natures songs.

If you are AT-hiking past Sunfish Pond, be sure to take the Turquoise Trail on the north end, just a tenth of a mile, to the high rock point where the third photo was taken. There is no finer viewpoint from which to take in this magical setting of pristine wilderness. I had a rock seat with backrest there to witness it all -- I felt a truly wealthy man.

The ridge walk to get there from Millbrook-Blairstown Road is one of the prettiest extended sections of ridge walking I've found, and I say that even though I could not fully see the nearly constant vistas it presented from its glacier-smoothed, rubble-swept-aside bedrock walks. There was even the Catfish Fire Tower to climb if you didn't get enough of the vistas from the rest of the walk. When you're not on exposed ridge you're walking through a delightful variety of woodlands, savanna-like glades, and grassy knobs that felt almost alpine.

And after receiving all these gifts, there was an unexpected bonus waiting for me as I took a short stroll north of Millbrook-Blairstown Rd: A rock-lined lily pond that has been adopted by beavers.  What a wonderful day!


Here's my hike plotted on a map, with a link to more photos:

AT Day 113 - Sunfish Pond at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in New Jersey

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